Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) have become a necessary evil in today’s environment. Schools, companies and organizations have to layout what they expect and how they expect technology will be used on their premises and/or with their equipment. Roblyer defines an AUP as a policy “…that stipulates the risks involved in Internet use and outlines appropriate, safe online behavior” (pg. 66). Schools have to maintain a safe environment for all students and employees, this also includes the virtual environment. The Internet, in general, gives a plethora of information, however, not all of it is suitable for the classroom or work environment. This is why an AUP is written up. An AUP is a set of guidelines for students and/or employees to learn how to be responsible with their privilege of using the Internet at school or work. These guidelines layout exactly what can and cannot be done along with the consequences if they choose not to follow.
So, what should be included in an AUP? The following, from scholastic.com, are components that are commonly found in an AUP for an educational institution:
- a description of the instructional philosophies and strategies to be supported by Internet access in schools;
- a statement on the educational uses and advantages of the Internet in your school or division ;
- a list of the responsibilities of educators, parents, and students for using the Internet;
- a code of conduct governing behavior on the Internet;
- a description of the consequences of violating the AUP;
- a guide to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable use of the Internet;
- a disclaimer absolving your school division, under specific circumstances, from responsibility;
- a statement reminding users that Internet access and the use of computer networks is a privilege;
- a statement that the AUP is in compliance with state and national telecommunication rules and regulations;
- a statement regarding the need to maintain personal safety and privacy while accessing the Internet;
- a statement regarding the need to comply with Fair Use Laws and other copyright regulations while accessing the Internet;
- a signature form for teachers, parents, and students indicating their intent to abide by the AUP.
One negative side of an AUP is that is it usually written up, distributed and then forgotten about until something bad happens and lawyers have to get involved. Only then it is pulled out and dusted off. I believe that those who need to sign it also need to be taught what it means in order to fully understand what they are agreeing to uphold. Especially for middle and high school students that can be lead astray too easily. If every teacher in every subject area took one day out of their schedules to teach the policy I believe there would be less occurrences of non-acceptable issues.
Examples of Acceptable Use Policies
Madison City Schools This AUP is included in the student handbook. It is located in section 6.24
Morgan County Schools
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Scholastic. (n.d). Why have a technology policy in your school or library? retrieved February 28,2016 from http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/tech/techpolicy.htm.